What happens when you pit two BMW M-class contenders against each other at the drag strip? If that’s a question that has ever kept you awake at night, don’t worry—the fine folks at Bike World and Carwow have taken it upon themselves to deliver us all some answers. Clearly, results will vary based on who’s piloting each of the vehicles—but for now, we have the usual match of an ex-racer in Bike World’s Chris Northover, and eternal Carwow presenter Mat Watson.
It’s Halloween as we’re writing this, so which BMW M & M are we talking about? On the bike side, it’s a BMW M 1000 RR, and on the car side, it’s a BMW M5 CS—so all treats and no tricks, we’re pretty sure. Now, as soon as you clocked that they’re pitting an M 1000 RR against anything, you probably already think you know who’s going to win. While that may be true—it's still worth seeing the spectacle, isn’t it?
For those unfamiliar with how this pair of publications structures their drag race challenges, it usually goes like this: Three separate challenges, usually done over a quarter mile or a half mile (depending on the challenge). There’s the fastest quarter-mile standing start, fastest half-mile rolling start, and shortest brake distance from a speed of 100 miles per hour. Most of the time, cars win the brake challenge, even against truly outstanding motorcycles—simply because top-grade cars have approximately a bazillion percent larger contact patch on the ground.
In this case, how did the M 1000 RR fare against the M5 CS? As you’ve probably already guessed, the M 1000 RR completely smoked the M5 CS in the standing-start quarter mile. Northover even said ahead of time that he would be launching the bike manually, because he said that in practice, he still found himself to be faster than the M 1000 RR’s launch control feature. After that race, he said he got as perfect a launch as he’s ever gotten, and it showed—the race wasn’t even close.
The rolling-start half-mile usually evens things out a little, so the car at least has a fighting chance—but that’s probably because none of the other cars have been pitted against an M 1000 RR. For this challenge, they actually ended up attempting several do-overs in different gears. The first race, the M 1000 RR smoked the M5 CS yet again, so Watson suggested they try it again, this time with the M 1000 RR starting in fourth gear.
Even with that handicap, the M 1000 RR still handily walked away from the M5 before the line—and walked away with the win. Next, they tried with a start in fifth gear for the M 1000 RR—and although it was closer, the result wasn’t much different. Finally, they tried with the M 1000 RR starting in sixth gear. Surprisingly, it didn’t stall—but of course it was boggy as anything and extremely sluggish as it struggled to get up to a happy operating speed. Nevertheless, it managed to do so just at the line—and still, somewhat astonishingly, managed to beat the M5 CS.
If there was anyone cheering for the M5, don’t worry—it did still win in the braking challenge. The M 1000 RR’s braking capabilities are impressive for a bike—but the M5 was still faster. That’s something, at least?